‘Oksa Pollock: The Last Hope’ by Anne Plichota and Cendrine Wolf (Review)

Some of you may remember my little helper, Emily, and her thoughts on children’s literature.  Unfortunately, she hasn’t done any reviews for a while, mainly because her reading interests have developed, and she became engrossed in dystopian fiction novels  (some of which are probably ever so slightly beyond what she’s supposed to be reading at her age…).  However, recently, while waiting for another of her books to arrive at the local library, she picked up a book she abandoned a while ago, this time making it all the way through.  So, after a lengthy delay, here’s Emily with her views on another work from the impressive Pushkin Children’s range – even better, this time it’s all in her own words 🙂

*****
What’s better than reading about a teenager moving to the other side of the world? You guessed it, it’s reading about a teenager moving to the other side of the world, and discovering they have magical powers!

Oksa Pollock is happy in Paris, living with her extended OTT Russian family and next door to her best friend Gus, when her father decides to uproot the Pollocks and whisk the whole family (which includes Gus and his adoptive parents) to London, wanting to open a restaurant of his own. But her family is different in ways that Oksa never saw coming, and it seems nobody in her life is just normal:

“My name is Oksa Pollock,and I’ve just arrived in London. My favourite subjects are Science and Maths. I like astronomy and rollerblading and I’ve done karate for six years, like Gus. There, I’m done sir.”
p.33 (Pushkin Children’s Press, 2014)

Oksa sounds perfectly ordinary here, and that’s what she believes she is. But soon she realises just how extraordinary she is:

This time she targeted Gus’s bag, which began floating almost two feet in the air. Gus sprang to his feet, snatched his bag out of the air and looked around uneasily before muttering, “How are you doing this?” (p.73)

And Oksa’s eyes are opened to the Magic all around her. But powers aren’t always used for good, and this new world Oksa has discovered will cause more trouble than one person should have in a lifetime.

Oksa’s new school is all kinds of different, with a uniform giving Oksa nightmares of dancing blazers, the prettiest history teacher in, well, history and a sinister chemistry teacher. Oh, and not to mention the maths teacher was found dead in the Thames late last year. This creepy new school is filled with obstacles to overcome, such as a massive bully out to get Oksa. But Oksa is nothing if not brave, so Ninja Oksa-san will just have to tough it out.

I received this book a while ago and started reading it, but it just didn’t hook me in. I restarted it after a while and found it better than I remembered. I would probably rate it 3.9 stars (out of 5 ). The age I would recommend would probably be 12-14, because it suits slightly older readers. Overall it was an okayish-good book, and I would read the next one.

Thanks for reading my review, and I hope you enjoy Oksa Pollock: The Last Hope!

By Emily Malone

*****
Oksa Pollock: The Last Hope by Anne Plichota and Cendrine Wolf
(translated by Sue Rose: published by Pushkin Children’s Press)

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